Like many, many other bloggers (and normal people) around the world, I’m using this strange between-holidays time to think about what the new year will bring. But also to reflect on 2013.
Any recollection can be incomplete and/or subject to misremembering. Or just blatant fiction-writing. So please excuse any of the former, while I try very hard to avoid the latter.
So, for me, 2013 was characterised by quite a few events of major personal importance. Yep, it was a pretty big year.
For a start, I got married.
That was pretty major. By anyone’s reckoning I’d say. After over a decade together, I finally made an honest man of @FrankDJS. And we had a fantastic honeymoon in New York. It was a long time coming (the marriage, not the trip to New York), but all the better for the waiting. We had it just how we wanted it – a very quick civil partnership ceremony, followed by an excellent dinner with our two closest friends at the Oxo Tower.
For a whole host of reasons, it was the best meal of my life.
Again, thanks to all friends and people who only know me through this blog or Twitter for all the nice messages of support. It made all the difference. That said, I’m still getting used to the words “married” and “husband”.
We bought our first home together.
Yep, another major milestone. After renting in the village-like atmosphere of Wapping for nearly 10 years, we upped sticks and moved “down the street” to Canary Wharf.
Compared to most people I know, the purchase and move appear to have gone very smoothly. It didn’t really feel like it at the time, but we got there in the end.
I can say with complete certainty that we haven’t looked back since. I smile daily waking up in this apartment (admittedly not immediately – I’m still not a morning person) and love the location, the amenities and the whole vibe of living here.
We went from arguing with the owner of the coffee shop underneath our old apartment, to being greeted by name by the concierges in our new building.
From looking out onto the strange sexual exploits of neighbours in buildings across the street to watching the sun reflect off the towers of Canary Wharf. Plus the whole pool, gym and sauna thing. Yes, I’m still addicted to the sauna.
Plus, I feel very grown up – it was bound to happen at some point!
After running a load of half-marathons over the past few years, I ran my first marathon in 2013. Happily, it was the London Marathon, so I was running on home turf. I had trained like a mother-lover, but despite all my efforts I was still tripped up by a scumbag who pushed past me and left me with a badly injured knee.
I managed to finish, but a lot slower than the first half would have you believe – I crossed the line in 4:51, when I was aiming for 4 hours. But still – I completed it, and for the most part, had a ball. I also raised about £1800 for Epilepsy Action – the main motivation to keep going after the injury.
It hasn’t put me off marathons, though I know it’ll be a while before I’m marathon-ready again. First there are some 10km runs to get under the belt, along with a few half-marathons. Maybe I’ll be ready by the end of 2014. We’ll see…
As a direct result of the afore-mentioned marathon, I ended up in surgery in late November – something I’m still recovering from. I suppose I’m lucky to have reached 37 without a running/sports injury, but the fact that I won’t be running again until at least mid-February 2014 still annoys me. Can’t complain about the medical care though – even though my career as a knee model is in complete tatters. Nah… just two very small scars.
Sadly, when they “opened me up”, they found quite a lot of scar tissue, damage to my femur and arthritis. All the same, I’m going to be 38 in a few weeks – should I really be surprised that my joints aren’t virginal?
In October, we enjoyed our first ever trip to Japan – 8 days in Tokyo. It was the first holiday in a while when I was seriously bummed to be leaving for home. Normally I’ve had enough of any city after a week. I can report with certainty that Tokyo has shot to the top of my list of favourite cities. I’m smitten! I know we’ll be back – though it can’t come soon enough.
I can’t narrow down my reasons for loving Japan so much, but would point to the unfailing friendliness of every single person I met, along with the cleanliness and efficiency of Tokyo. I know we’ve only scratched the surface of Japan – it’s a bit like visiting London and saying you’ve “done” the UK.
I couldn’t escape Japan this year. We visited an amazing exhibit of Japanese calligraphy while in Madrid in November and then stumbled across an exhibition of Spanish-Japanese relations illustrating how the two countries have influenced each other in trade and art. Back in London, we went to see an exhibition of Japanese prints at the Old Truman Brewery.
Actually, there was quite a bit of travel in 2013, with excellent trips to Madrid, Mallorca, Amsterdam, Dublin and Edinburgh. Not including the business trips that were sprinkled across my calendar in 2013. I got much better at packing, in terms of both speed and economy. Multiple two-days trips for business have turned me into a ruthless packer and an expert shirt-folder.
Looking to 2014, I wonder if it can top the roller coaster that was 2013. A few friends have commented on what a busy (and exciting!) year it was. I’m hoping 2014 is as much fun, but contains fewer injuries, illnesses and undesirable business trips. I’m looking for more fun travel, more music (watch this space) and bigger and better things on the work front.
But who knows? The best laid plans and all that…
If I – and those closest to me – can have a healthy and happy 2014, well…who could ask for anything more? And to you – you random hordes who seem to visit this blog in ever-increasing numbers – to you I say this: thanks for sharing 2013 with me. I hope you’ll hang around for 2014. And I hope it’s been as much fun for you as it has me.
Onwards and upwards…or as the great Stan Lee would say: Excelsior!